Microsoft and maritime players launch digital venture studio
Tech giant Microsoft, together with companies Hafnia, DNV, Wilhelmsen and IMC Ventures, has created a new digital venture studio, Studio 30 50.
As disclosed, the objective of the studio is to identify new solutions which can address a broad range of ESG topics concerning the maritime industry, while also funding innovative proposals (built by startups) which seek to improve efficiencies across the whole maritime supply chain.
Through this venture, Hafnia and its Studio 30 50 partners will help new founders in their journey of raising sufficient capital, bridging the product-market fit, providing a successful point of entry and in building scalable, sustainable business models that offer unique added value in a competitive and strict regulatory landscape.
“The maritime industry is picking up the pace in digitalization, but to achieve wide-scale impact and sustainability outcomes, an ecosystem approach that aligns interests such as Studio 30 50 is needed. IMC aims to create a positive impact through its investments, and we are thrilled to work with like-minded partners to drive innovation and entrepreneurship,” Axel Tan, Venture Partner, IMC Ventures, said.
One of the key targets facing the maritime industry today is to reduce emissions significantly by 2030 while aspiring to be Net Zero by 2050. Studio 30 50 aims to solve both near-term and long-term goals around building a sustainable and agile maritime industry of the future.
This is a vision shared by all partners, and the studio aims to attract a new type of talent to the maritime sector in the form of individual founders and early-stage start-ups who have an ambition to solve complex challenges around emissions reduction, building a circular economy, solving social issues and the broader supply chain inefficiencies facing the maritime industry.
“Closer collaboration between corporates and start-ups is key for scaling innovations, which will be key for successful transformation and decarbonization of our industry. DNV is proud to support Studio3050 targeting this together with other likeminded industry players, and especially so here in Singapore whom has a consistent strategy focusing on innovation, start-ups and digital investments,” Sharin Osman, DNV Regional Maritime Advisory said.
Applications to Studio 30 50 are set to open in April 2023. Shortlisted founders and start-ups will receive an invitation to join the first cohort in June where they will be exposed to the issues facing the industry and prompted to ideate disruptive solutions for new companies.
Furthermore, applicants will be given support in the form of product management, technical know-how, data support and venture capitalists’ validation.
“A consortium-based venture studio to enhance corporate backed venture building for the maritime industry is something that aligns seamlessly with our in-built philosophy of collaboration. We are looking forward to being an integral part of this new ecosystem, combining talent with deep domain expertise to uncover novel approaches that help drive our industry forward,” stated Nakul Malhotra, Vice President, Emerging Opportunities Portfolio, Wilhelmsen.
Microsoft has joined Studio 30 50 as the principal innovation partner in the collaboration and will support all funded startups that will be incubated via its Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub program.
According to the company, the platform offers benefits and credits, and gives startups free access to technology across the Microsoft Cloud, tools, and resources they need to build and run their business.
“Our first-in-Singapore collaboration with leaders in the global maritime space will infuse innovation in data & AI, sustainability and security into all parts of their industry,” said Richard Koh, Singapore Chief Technology Officer, Microsoft.
“We are confident that this ecosystem collaboration will empower Singapore to transform the global maritime industry at scale with homegrown innovation on the Microsoft Cloud, while addressing challenges in sustainable energy use, resourcing and process optimization.”